Essays in applied microeconomics
Title: Essays in applied microeconomics
Author: HERNÆS, Øystein
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2015
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Economics
Abstract The first chapter analyzes the effects of commercial television in Norway. Matching data on cable television networks with individual-level administrative register data, we find that the expansion of commercial television reduced ability test scores as well as high school graduation rates. We find stronger effects on sons of low-income parents and particularly large effect for children in elementary school. Aggregate data show a substantial drop in time spent reading by young people in the same period, suggesting that television watching may have crowded out more cognitively stimulating activities such as reading. This chapter is joint work with Simen Markussen and Knut Røed. The second chapter investigates how sickness absence behaviour in Norwegian municipalities was affected by the terrorist attack in Norway on July 22, 2011. Using register data covering the complete Norwegian population, I find that sickness absence rates declined substantially in municipalities affected more intensely by the attack. In municipalities from which a resident was killed in the attack, sickness absence rates declined by 4% compared to municipalities without victims. The effect is precisely estimated, stable across several challenging specifications, and persists for as long as there is available data. The effect for people in their 20's is more than twice that for the population at large – for this group, local exposure to the attack decreased absence rates by around 10%. The third chapter exploits a natural experiment in the Norwegian political system. I find that obtaining the right to vote at a lower age is associated with substantially higher turnout among first-time voters, and that this is driven by parental influence. Counter to conventional wisdom about the habitual nature of voting, this difference in political participation does not persist for subsequent elections.
LC Subject Heading: Microeconomics; Labor economics; Electoral systems
Defence date: 28 May 2015; Examining Board: Professor Andrea Mattozzi, Supervisor, EUI; Professor Andrea Ichino, EUI; Professor Peter Fredriksson, Stockholm University; Professor Tarjei Havnes, University of Oslo.
Type of Access: openAccess